By Darlene Versak

I needed refreshing.

The wrapper said Lama Chodpa: The Natural Tibetan Incense. This one was Purification Incense. It read: helps to remove in-auspicious impurities with the inner channels and any environment of sanctuary or ceremony thereby refreshing the mind, body and spirit. I struck a match and transferred the flame to the stick. I blew it out, watching it smolder and radiate deep orange, smoke rising.

I was going through paperwork—years, a lifetime of paperwork. It felt right to burn this incense as I was in the process of clearing and purifying my life. The flame turning to a glowing ember then to ash dropping into nothingness felt like a reflection of all that I am. I have walked through a fire and am glowing within, shedding all kinds of things no longer needed or necessary.

I may need some of these things, but really I feel like walking away with nothing.

My divorce will be final in a few weeks. What began as a beautiful union of two souls’ intent on showing the world what love can do is ending with the silent strokes of pen to paper that says it is finished. I agree, you agree. They say divorce is like death. It is, because it makes us think about our lives. When someone dies, we see our own mortality and it forces us to come to terms with the life we’re living. Are we living the life we want to? Am I the person I wanted to be? Am I awake?

I learned a new word: Lustration, which means purifying by religious ceremony.

Distilling the things that I absolutely need to keep is quite the process. I’ve been performing little religious ceremonies for the last year and a half. Like guideposts in the road, I mark each decision in my head reflecting today on what has been. I turn to breathing to stay in the present moment honoring the sacredness that is me. This is my soul’s journey. I am exactly where I’m supposed to be in this moment. Everything that has happened has occurred for a reason. The people I’ve met, either I’m helping them grow or they’re helping me grow. I see the lessons scattered throughout. Mirrors held by friends and strangers facing me so that I can see who I am with a clarity that I was unwilling or unable to face in the past.

I am finding my essence, what I came into the world and what I’ll leave this world with.

My salvation has been yoga; my constant practice in the chaos of change. I go to my class and breathe. I exist just in this moment, just in this pose. I breathe the ancient breath and I feel the call to be present; stop the story running in my head, the litany of things I should be doing, the deciphering of his motives, feelings, actions. In this moment, I am called to just be. Breathe in, breathe out. Clear my head, clear a space inside so that my soul can rise through the constant chatter of my mind.

I am drawn back to the smoke rising. It encircles, the purifying that this incense is to provide, and in this moment I know that I will be fine.


Darlene VersakDarlene Versak is yoga practicing, truth warrior who is astounded at the beauty in people, nature and the world. She lives in Plymouth Meeting, PA with her two sons where she finds laughter at the most inappropriate time and in all things, especially herself. Her evolving mission is to help people to awaken to their soul’s purpose and use their gifts to help to heal the world. Searching for her tribe and living with a heart that has been broken open, she is growing on a daily basis believing that writing her truth will heal her and maybe the world.


Photo: (source)

Editor: Alicia Wozniak